Our city’s Home Care workers, employees of Birmingham City Council and members of Unison have justly voted for strike action. These workers provide adult social care across the city. Birmingham’s social care workforce was 7,000, now’s it’s a mere 2,000. Birmingham city council now plans to make 40% of care home enablement staff redundant and introduce a ludicrous 3 split shift a day system! How can any self-respecting socialist, or indeed any self-respecting worker, support Labour Councillors introducing such a system?! Each day workers will be expected to work 7-10am, 12-2pm, and 4-10pm!
Such a system will bring about a 15 hour day – an utterly disgraceful proposal rightly rejected by workers. This is the same Labour council who just took away 50 rest days a year from bin men after having threatened many with redundancy, because nobody has stood up to these councillors they feel empowered to continue attempting to implement such reactionary measures.
Lessons from the bin strike
2017’s Birmingham bin strike was heroic, and it should have ended in total and utter defeat for the council … and the Labour party careerists. However, there are reasons why so many workers have ended up worse off.
When the Birmingham bin men went up against the Labour run council in 2017, it was in defence of terms and conditions. The workers had to fight a Labour council, every bit as bad as any Tory council. Unions try to prevent strikes against Labour councils, they prefer to make deals with Labour councils because the union bureaucracy is full of Labour party members. The full time officials all have comfy jobs and don’t want to derail the gravy train.
All summer the bin strike proved that the cuts were not being implemented by a “few bad apples “inside the Labour Party, the cuts are not coming from the Tories they are prepared and implemented by Labour councillors.
Despite this obvious fact, many full time trade union officials like Caroline Johnson, the Birmingham Branch Secretary for Unison, continue to blame the Tories or give the story of the “few bad apples”. Nobody should be fooled by this rubbish. Everybody associated with the Labour party is the same, they are careerists and when push comes to shove, be they local Labour councillors or Labour supporting trade union bureaucrats, they all want to get Labour re-elected and keep the gravy train steaming ahead. They directly benefit from not rocking the boat for the Labour party.
Support our Home Care workers
A successful strike by Home Care workers in defence of terms and conditions will not be won by officials trying to do deals and reach agreement with the city council. The city’s Labour councillors are hell -bent on introducing cuts to services and attacks on workers terms and conditions.
Home Care workers need to expose the wretched nature of the Labour party, mobilise their patients, friends and family and drive these careerists from the political scene. It’s time Birmingham workers stood up to the bullies in the council chamber.
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